Cisco Systems is looking to take popular social networking tools and tricks and bend and meld them into a platform that's focused on business.
It's a social way of dealing with everyday business, according to Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise Collaboration Platform. Sitaram is overseeing the development of Cisco Quad, a Web-based collaboration platform for the enterprise designed to pull together Facebook-like update posts, instant messaging, document sharing, video communication, microblogging and communities.
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"We've borrowed from the Web 2.0 world," Sitaram said, noting that Cisco has been working on Quad for about three years. "It's a manifestation of social capabilities."
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been hot commodities in the online world where people are eager to share pictures of their kids and updates about their vacations and weekend parties. Enterprises, however, have been slow to see Web 2.0 tools as as resource that could help companies improve their business, and not just a way for employees to waste time.
As Cisco tries to get a leg up in the fairly new enterprise collaboration space, it'll have some competition from the likes of Microsoft's Sharepoint business collaboration platform and Google's upcoming collaboration and communication tool, Wave.
Cisco Quad went into an initial beta test last fall.
"The Cisco approach to bringing social networking into the enterprise is interesting and different in that it's more than just having an internal Facebook-like mechanism," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Cisco is talking about integrating enterprise applications into the mix to give social networking more business functionality. This could be an attractive selling point to customers."
Quad could be coming out just as businesses get their heads around enterprise 2.0 applications, that is, using social networking tools for the enterprise, Olds said.